Alternative characterization of forest fire regimes: incorporating spatial patterns
- 754 Downloads
The proportion of fire area that experienced stand-replacing fire effects is an important attribute of individual fires and fire regimes in forests, and this metric has been used to group forest types into characteristic fire regimes. However, relying on proportion alone ignores important spatial characteristics of stand-replacing patches, which can have a strong influence on post-fire vegetation dynamics.
We propose a new more ecologically relevant approach for characterizing spatial patterns of stand-replacing patches to account for potential limitation of conifer seed dispersal.
We applied a simple modified logistic function to describe the relationship between the proportion of total stand-replacing patch area and an interior buffer distance on stand-replacing patches.
This approach robustly distinguishes among different spatial configurations of stand-replacing area in both theoretical and actual fires, and does so uniquely from commonly used descriptors of spatial configuration.
Our function can be calculated for multiple fires over a given area, allowing for meaningful ecological comparisons of stand-replacing effects among different fires and regions.
KeywordsStand replacing patches High severity Fire severity Fire ecology
Many of the ideas that spawned this work originated on a fire science retreat led by Hugh Safford and Christina Restaino, which was partially supported by the USDA Forest Service and the California Fire Science Consortium. This work was also supported by a research partnership between the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources (Project No. 16-JV-11272167-063).
- Agee JK (1993) Fire ecology of Pacific Northwest forests. Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
- Agee JK (1998) The landscape ecology of Western forest fire regimes. Northwest Sci 72:24–34Google Scholar
- Collins BM, Stephens SL (2010) Stand-replacing patches within a ‘mixed severity’ fire regime: quantitative characterization using recent fires in a long-established natural fire area. Landscape Ecol 25:927–939Google Scholar
- Hessburg PF, Spies TA, Perry DA, Skinner CN, Taylor AH, Brown PM, Stephens SL, Larson AJ, Churchill DJ, Povak NA, Singleton PH, McComb B, Zielinski WJ, Collins BM, Salter RB, Keane JJ, Franklin JF, Riegel G (2016) Tamm review: management of mixed-severity fire regime forests in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. For Ecol Manag 366:221–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McDonald PM (1980) Seed dissemination in small clearcuttings in north-central California. General Technical Report PSW-150. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Berkeley, CA, USA, p 5Google Scholar
- McGarigal K, Cushman SA, Neel MC, Ene E (2002) FRAGSTATS v3: spatial pattern analysis program for categorical and continuous maps. University of Massachusetts, AmherstGoogle Scholar
- Odion DC, Hanson CT, Arsenault A, Baker WL, DellaSala DA, Hutto RL, Klenner W, Moritz MA, Sherriff RL, Veblen TT, Williams MA (2014) Examining historical and current mixed-severity fire regimes in ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests of western North America. PLoS ONE 9:e87852CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar